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cached SERPs

are SERPs cached for common searches?

6:46 pm on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my pages is experiencing an interesting effect in Yahoo! search results. It has been updated several times recently, and the Yahoo! page cache has a pretty recent version. (I can easily tell because of a change to the META description text.)

However, when the page shows up in SERPs for what is likely a "common search phrase", the old description shows up. This has been repeatable for multiple searches over the last day and a half; I don't believe it is the result of multiple data centers.

Has anyone else noticed this effect? If it is a known effect, what is the cache latency for common search phrases?

12:44 pm on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've changed my theory. It is not the SERPs for my common search phrase which is getting cached. Instead, Yahoo! maintains at least two separate cache's of sites, and does not keep them synchronized. I'll call them the "quick cache" and the "slow cache" for now.

The quick cache updated its copy of my page in the last few hours. On a very specific (but not so common) 3-word search phrase, the page is listed in the #4 slot and shows current information. The slow cache has a snapshot of my page from maybe a month ago. On a less specific but likely common 2-word search phrase, my page is in the #161 slot, and the description is based on the info in the slow cache. The cache links really point to two different generations of my page.

After seeing this effect for several days, I'm almost certain it is not due to a random delivery of info from different data centers. There is something very specific which causes it to use the slow cache for the common search phrase and the fast cache for the more specific phrase (and various other uncommon phrases).

-- Rich

4:20 am on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


If you are right then you are on to a great point. I am thinking back now to the time when Y dropped G search results. I have another site and we were working on optimizing for a keyword with over 3 million pages competing. We played with it and within a week or two of the switch we were in the top five - usually 4 or 5 - sometimes 3 if we were lucky. Then sometimes we disappeared and I attributed it to datacenters - but then we disappeared for several weeks altogether - only to reappear with two pages - one holding the #2 and another holding the #3 spot where we have been locked since then. In light of your slow/fast cache theory, maybe the fast cache picks things up that would rank well and throws them up in the SERPs - then it takes some time for it to digest into the slow, lasting cache. What do you think? How sure are you of this cache theory as it relates to the SERPs?

5:00 am on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Mark, I have pm'd you with the actual URL and searches which led to this thread. You'll be able to make your own conclusion, and I'll be very interested to hear it. For now, I am "pretty darn sure". :) I also feel your theory, relating to how the cache's might be used to reflect fresh results, makes sense.

-- Rich

2:45 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, at least for my page, Yahoo! has synchronized its caches -- to the old "slow cache" version! I'm hoping that this is a temporary step on the way to synchronizing to the fresher cache. (I always was an optimist :) )

The sequence might work like this.

1) take the quick (fresh) cache off line
2) do lots of heavy database pre-processing on it for optimization
3) replace the previous slow cache with the newly optimized one
4) build up a new quick/fresh cache
5) rinse and repeat every few weeks

-- Rich

3:59 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Whatever is going on is an Inktomi thing, not Yahoo! only. search.msn.com is acting exactly the same (its fresh cache version of my page is gone as well).
6:54 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just wanted to add my name to the list of people with this problem.

For what it is worth I've been seeing these two sets of SERPS for some time.

Previously I was just interested in watching - moving from position 1 to 3 then back to 1.

But to move from 1 to +200 has be a littl emore worried!

8:23 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

That's an interesting theory, and once I've also seen evidence of. Also, I've noticed that after a page is udpated, it comes back, stays there for a couple of days (due to the "fresh" cache), then dissappears into infinity.

So the subsequent question would be, what to do to get the pages into the "slow" more permanent cache?

8:58 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Right now I have a page that we have been working on for awhile - a page that started all of this controversy for me. When the page was first listed it was in the mid-800s. Then after about a week it went to about 635. I made so on-page changes and it jumpt into the 20-40 range. I let it settle there for a few days and made another little (and I mean little) change to try and goose it up to the first page. Instead, the very next day it was back to 635. I freaked. Rich noted it might be the cache - but I wasn't looking at the cache until this point so unfortunately I don't know what is showed. Now - about a week later we are 435, but the cached page is about 2.5 weeks out of date. It is the page as it was before we made any changes. We are currently watching to see what happens when the cache updates. My belief is that we will jump in the SERPs. Will let you know.
8:28 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Anyone have an idea of how often Y updates their cache?
6:00 am on Nov 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

On the page I'm watching, still in the "wait and wait" mode. The cache being used contains an old version of the page.

One thing changed today, though. The page's description had always begun with the contents of its meta description tag. Now the listing only contains visible content from the page itself.

-- Rich

4:07 pm on Nov 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just noticed that Yahoo is swithcing back to the New Database. I checked the cache pages it is the latest version for some websites.
4:09 pm on Nov 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

They show this only when you type the domain name in the search box. It is still the old cache when you type the Company name(Domain name without extension).
4:10 pm on Nov 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have been watching several pages - one in particular. It keeps showing the same cached page which is about 3 weeks out of date. And Ink has spidered this page at least 15-20 times since it was updated. It's a little ridiculous at this point.
2:42 pm on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In the past 12 hours Yahoo! began using a recent version of my page, regardless of search phrase. So, at least for me, the caches are synchronized. The new results are slightly beneficial to me; with the 2-word common search phrase, it moved up from about #157 to #136. I'm hoping they still haven't settled on an ordering.

They show this only when you type the domain name in the search box. It is still the old cache when you type the Company name...


That's not really applicable in my case. There is no company; I have a personal, non-commercial site. And with the updated cache, they are beginning the page's description once again with the contents of its meta description tag.

-- Rich

3:38 pm on Nov 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yahoo! is once again using two different cache's when a search is made for my most popular page. On a three-word search, the newest version of the page is described and cached. It's position has advanced from #10 to #4. :)

On the much more common 2-word search, the older version (25 days old) still shows in the cache, and SERP position remains in the mid-130's. I'm hoping when the cache's resynch, my page position will get better than the 60% improvement for the 3-word search.

-- Rich


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